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Consumer Confidential: Cyber Monday, scams, leaping lords

November 28, 2011 | 10:12 am

Cyber Monday usually marks the first big jump in online spending for the holidays
Here's your unchained-melody Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

--It's Cyber Monday, so don't put away your credit card quite yet. The first Monday after Thanksgiving usually marks the first big jump in online spending for the holidays. Millions of consumers are expected to storm retail websites for Web-only deep discounts, special promotions and free shipping. ComScore reported Sunday that U.S. retail e-commerce spending rose 26% on Black Friday compared with the same day last year. The firm reported $816 million in online sales for the day, up from $648 million. Meanwhile, a record number of people headed to stores and shopped online from Thanksgiving Day through Sunday. They rang up an estimated $52.4 billion in sales during the four-day weekend, up from $45 billion last year, according to the National Retail Federation. That's a whole lot of economic stimulus. (Los Angeles Times)

--And a word of warning: Keep a watchful eye out for cyber-scammers and hackers. Your best bet is to use a major retail company's official website instead of using other online vendors you may not be familiar with or don't know the reputation of. Make sure you type in the retailer's Web address directly into the browser and start it with https:// to ensure that the site is secured. If you click on a pop-up site to purchase an enticing gift, you could be handing out your personal information to an awaiting cyber-thief. Also, watch out for deals that are too good to be true. They often are. (

 --Speaking of holiday shopping, the price of partridges, pear trees and turtle doves has spiked this year, pushing the cost of every item mentioned in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" above $100,000 for the first time. Holding mostly steady this year: maids a-milking, ladies dancing, lords a-leaping and gold rings. The 364 items repeated across all the song's verses would cost $101,119, an increase of 4.4% over last year, according to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management. Those with the money to spend would end up with 12 drummers drumming, 22 pipers piping, 30 lords a-leaping, 36 ladies dancing, 40 maids a-milking, 42 swans a-swimming, 42 geese a-laying, 40 gold rings, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves and 12 partridges in pear trees. In case you were looking for that extra-special gift. (USA Today)

-- David Lazarus

Photo: A surge in online sales is expected for Cyber Monday. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images